Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
Baby GoGo: A doll for boys, and girls
Baby GoGo by Little Sib bills itself as “a modern doll appropriate for a boy or a girl to play with.”
At its core, you’re buying a 13-inch gender-neutral doll wearing gender-neutral sleepwear. It comes with a blanket and a picture book titled Baby GoGo Goes Home, for a total suggested retail price of $40. A color-coordinated diaper bag is $25, and a Moses Bed will be available this summer.
As the title indicates, the picture book’s premise is that Baby GoGo was just born and is coming home, perhaps making it well-suited to a child expecting a sibling.
Offhand, it seems like you could buy any baby doll with a bald head that doesn’t have lipstick or earrings, and then dress it in real non-blue, non-pink infant clothes, or perhaps preemie clothes.
Sure, you might spend some time finding such clothes. I guess by that time you might have already spent $40.
If you want an actual boy doll, you’ll find that most are sold as anatomically-correct potty training dolls because… why else would you be buying your son a doll? Gasp.
I’m totally supportive of a doll company inviting parents to give their sons a doll. There’s nothing wrong about a boy modeling positive fathering behavior.
I was happy to see a photo of a boy holding the doll on the company’s website, but then I noticed he’s Asian. And there’s a photo with an Hispanic girl. And three images containing Caucasian children. I noticed because the doll looks, at least to me, Caucasian.
So it seems they tackled the gender issue, but have yet to address the identity issue. I’ve previously written:
“It strikes at the heart of issues such as how a child develops concepts of personal body image and beauty. Should a black mother be happy when a daughter tells her she doesn’t want to be black (because society has ingrained imagery that white skin is the ideal)? It happens.”
I wonder if a non-white family wouldn’t want a gender-neutral Caucasian doll at a time when their son or daughter is learning their racial identity. It’s an issue tied to the development of the concepts of beauty and self-esteem, with the notion that surrounding a non-white child with mostly white playthings contributes to a child’s viewing Caucasians as prettier, or Caucasian playthings more preferable.
To the company’s credit, it describes the doll as having a “medium skin tone.” I think perhaps it’s medium by Caucasian standards. I’d say Dora the Explorer has a medium skin tone, not in a true sense because Dora is pretty pale, but medium in the sense that she’s obviously not Caucasian and also not dark-skinned.
So… whatcha think?
- Would you buy your son a doll?
- Does a boy’s doll need to look like a boy? (Remember the My Buddy doll? It was marketed as a friend, not a baby to be cared for.)
- If you are non-white, does the skin color bother you?
See related: Are Doll Houses Okay for Boys?